2. Jim Benning must find creative ways to free up cap space
Not too long ago, it was reported by multiple sources that next year’s maximum cap could skyrocket all the way from $81.5 million to anywhere between $84-88.2 million dollars. At first, it was great news for the cap-strapped Canucks franchise, but now with the NHL on pause, that number is very uncertain and the wiggle room for Vancouver might get a whole lot smaller.
It’s really no secret that the Canucks have a few really bad contracts weighing them down. It’s been on the radar for some time, but now it may actually become a really big problem. Over the rebuilding years, Benning took to acquiring the veteran help he needed by offering up the extra year most other clubs wouldn’t. The help was needed and the contract lengths offered at the time looked to match the stage of rebuild. That was until Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes arrived.
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Both the Calder Trophy winner and the soon to be Calder finalist (if not the winner) changed the Canucks forever and gave speed to the rebuild, not even Benning could have predicted. That, combined with both players exceeding all expectations makes for two big contracts that need to be written up sooner than anyone originally thought. If the two superstars continue at the rate they’ve played so far, it wouldn’t be surprising to see both players command a double-digit annual fee.
Loui Eriksson is a “must move” target this summer. Eriksson isn’t even a shadow of his former self and with his bonus contract being paid out on July 1st, this might actually be the time someone picks him up. He’s rumoured to only be owed $4 million dollars over the final two years of his deal, but he still carries a massive $6 million dollar cap hit. Benning will have to get creative. It’ll most likely mean tacking on extra prospects or picks to move someone out, but Benning doesn’t have much of a choice at this point.